California Gulch Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"At the start of the trail is the town of Animas Forks, gateway to the Alpine Loop, a nice place to get a close-up look at a well-preserved ghost town. Animas Forks was active between 1875 and the early 1920s. In 1885, its summer population reached a high of 450 people. The Silverton Northern Railroad reached the town in 1904 when the giant Gold Prince Mill was built.
The mill lasted only six years before it was closed. Please don’t go into the buildings or take any souvenirs. There is a decent public toilet near the townsite. The trail has several mines along the way, including a large well-preserved one within the first mile. Just below the summit of California Pass, on the east side, are the remains of the Mountain Queen Mine. This mine has a 400 ft. deep shaft which connects to a quarter mile long tunnel going back to lower California Gulch. The only challenging part of this trail is the climb up and over California Pass."